Brisbane's Renewable Energy Solutions Australia (RESA) recently unveiled the first working installation of what is claimed to be the world's quietest wind turbine. The Eco Whisper Turbine is capable of producing 20kW of electricity despite being about half the height and having half the blade diameter of more familiar three-bladed solutions, and is able to automatically adjust the position of the blades to maximize wind capture.

Much of the noise produced by small wind turbines occurs when air spills off the tip of the blades but thanks to a unique cowl/ring design, the Eco Whisper Turbine is said to benefit from near-silent operation. RESA says that its design can produce more than 30 percent more energy than other turbine solutions over a wide range of wind conditions - that translates to up to 45,000 kWh per year in optimum conditions.

The company expects its grid or off-grid green energy solution to meet the medium to high power needs in urban and rural applications like airports, business parks, commercial sites and universities. The company's Michael Le Messurier reports that interest from the industry has been overwhelming since the first installation was recently unveiled at Austeng Engineering in Geelong, Victoria.

Standing 21.1 meters (69.225 feet) tall from tip to toe, a 6.5 meter (21.325 foot) diameter blade sits at the top of a hinged steel pole that can be lowered for maintenance or during extreme weather conditions - although the structure is designed to withstand wind speeds of up to 220 km/h (136.7 mph). The central hub and the 30 blades that fan out from it are made from aluminum, and the solution incorporates dynamic slew drive technology that negates the need for a tail.

Other noteworthy benefits of this turbine development include a low start up speed and high visibility that should help the local bird population avoid injury.

The following video shows the Eco Whisper Turbine in action: